Issued By
Durham County Council


Over 100 County Durham people are to find out how to avoid turning a doorstep drama into a crisis.

Durham County Council is teaming up with police, fire and rescue services and voluntary groups to stage a Safe At Home day at County Hall, Durham tomorrow. (Thursday, October 30)

A series of fun drama sketches played out by two theatre groups will aim to raise the awareness of older people to safety in the home, including fire safety and the dangers of doorstep crime.

Police dogs Jet and Ben will promote the Nominated Neighbour Scheme that seeks to safeguard older people and the police will also highlight Operation Darc, which aims to reduce opportunist thefts.

The fire service will give advice on fire safety and the importance of smoke alarms. These issues will also be emphasised by the Encore theatre group in a series of sketches.

Doorstep skills will be the theme for The Feeling Good theatre company as they encourage people to make use of doorchains and check the identity of unexpected callers.

Councillor Don Ross, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said: "We are pleased to host this event which aims to help older people to continue to enjoy living independently in a safe and secure environment."

Chris Watkins, Durham Constabulary Community Safety Branch, said: "We hope that householders will take care to ensure that they lock windows and doors and leave a light on when out of the house to deter opportunist thieves.

"When answering the door to unexpected callers, always use the doorchain and, if in doubt, keep them out," he said.

The Police Nominated Neighbour Scheme aims to reassure anyone living alone and further details are available from crime prevention officers at local police stations.

Geoff Blakey, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety section, said: "This event is an ideal opportunity to remind people of the dangers of unattended open fires and candles.

"Around the home, smoke alarms should be checked regularly and care taken when using electric blankets during the winter months," he said.

Note to News Editors: The event forms part of a major initiative by Durham County Council's Trading Standards service in conjunction with Durham Constabulary, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, DISC Home Safe and other statutory and voluntary partners.

Trading Standards is part of the North of England Trading Standards Group, which is involved in many local, regional and national initiatives to tackle the problem of doorstep crime that targets older adult and vulnerable people in County Durham.

For further information contact -
Craig Hudson, divisional manager, Durham County Council Trading Standards on 0191 383 3707, or Phillip Holman, Head of Trading Standards on 0191 383 3391.

Geoff Blakey, Community Safety Officer, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service on 0191 332 4222.

PC Chris Watkins, Community Safety Branch, Durham Constabulary, on 0191 386 4929 extension 2689

Helen Hindmarch, DISC (Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community) Home Safe Project on 0191 384 2785